“Ruins at Baalbek,” oil on canvas, by Frederic Church, 1868.

by Hélène Cardona

On a visit to my ancestors I’m shown
into the palace of hypnotists
through a small entrance and grand rounding staircase,
each step a drawer containing sculptures.
The landing expands into huge vistas
over fountains, centaurs and other creatures,
statues come alive, stunning spectacle.
Windows open onto a lake
—adorned by willows and vines—
whose surface, smooth and silver,
reflects the astonished beauty
of mutable selves riveted on the horizon.

omega man

Hélène Cardona is a poet, literary translator and actor, the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a Hemingway Grant and the USA Best Book Award. Her books include three poetry collections, most recently Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry), and Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry); and three translations: Beyond Elsewhere (White Pine Press), Ce que nous portons (by Dorianne Laux, Éditions du Cygne), and Walt Whitman’s Civil War Writings for Iowa International Writing Program’s WhitmanWeb.

She is co-International editor of Plume, co-edits FulcrumAn Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics, contributes essays to The London Magazine, and is co-producer of the documentary Pablo Neruda: The Poet’s Calling. She holds a Master’s in American Literature from the Sorbonne, taught at Hamilton College & Loyola Marymount University, and received fellowships from the Goethe-Institut & Universidad Internacional de Andalucía.

Hélène had roles in Chocolat, Jurassic World, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Serendipity, and Mumford.